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Parliamentary Replies

Disbursements of Jobs Support Scheme Payouts to Singapore-registered Companies

05 Oct 2020
Parliamentary Question by Mr Ang Wei Neng:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) whether the Ministry considers whether Singapore-registered companies are making profits before disbursing Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts and, if so, what is the quantum of JSS payouts disbursed to such companies; (b) whether the Ministry will consider asking Singapore-registered companies that declare profits before JSS payouts in FY2020 to return the JSS payouts in whole or in part; and (c) how many companies have declined JSS or returned the JSS payouts disbursed to them.

Parliamentary Reply by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat:

The objective of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) is to support employers in retaining local employees in the face of the severe and widespread economic impact brought about by COVID-19.

Given the severity of the shock and its wide impact across the economy, the JSS was designed to flow help to businesses fast.  Profitability of businesses during the crisis was not a criterion for the payout.  In practice, as businesses would not have filed their income tax returns, information on profitability was also not available to Government during the unfolding crisis.

However, to better target help and for fiscal prudence, JSS support was tiered according to the severity of the economic shock facing broad sectors.  For example, the aviation and travel sectors which had suffered a near complete loss of revenue, were accorded the highest tier of 75% support.

We have made further refinements to the tiering for the extension of the JSS announced in August.  For example, firms in the biomedical sciences and financial services sectors, which have been managing well, would see their support level fall to 10% for the period September – December 2020 and thereafter to zero.

Given the design intent of the JSS, we do not intend to instruct firms that report profits to return their JSS payouts, whether in whole or in part. But we have and will continue to encourage firms that do not need the payout to do so voluntarily. As at 24 September 2020, over 700 firms have declined and/or returned JSS payouts. Alternatively, firms can also make use of the JSS scheme to hire more local workers, or to accelerate their transformation efforts.